Bishops Scorn Obama, but Pope Is a Fan

The Vatican takes softer stance on Notre Dame debate
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2009 3:50 PM CDT
Pope Benedict XVI visits the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in the Old City of Jerusalem.   (AP Photo/Daniel Bar-On, Pool)
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(Newser) – While conservative Catholics rage over President Obama's upcoming commencement speech at Notre Dame, one man has remained silent: the Holy Father. Indeed, American Catholic leaders and the Pope have staked out dramatically different positions from the Obama administration's, Amy Sullivan observes in Time. Yet the Vatican’s response to the pro-choice president has verged on approval.

The Vatican, which often sidesteps political controversies, has “displayed a surprising optimism, bordering on enthusiasm" about Obama, Sullivan writes. Given Obama’s support among Catholics, the Pope may be wary of alienating him. Not so for outspoken new convert Newt Gingrich, who “may find it's awkward to try to be more Catholic than the Pope.”